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Taking Pictures on the North Downs Challenge Walk

St Mary's, Kemsing - post-processed

I wrote yesterday about my walk; I promised that today I would comment on what I learnt about photography.

There were some disappointments. For one, the weather was a little inclement; not much rain but lots of passing clouds. It was a challenge to figuring out the best exposure settings for each shot before the lighting changed. Also, I don’t think I lingered long enough over some shots and, in many of the pictures, the overall composition and sharpness of some of the key details is not all that I would desire. In particular, I must practise to see if I can get thin branches against a light background to come out clearer.

On the equipment side, I would definitely like a tripod with more control over the position of the camera and a quick-release mount – screwing the camera on, trying to get it level and then breaking it down afterwards took up time that could have been spent on taking better pictures instead.

However, some of those things can be fixed in the digital darkroom (note for example, the picture of the church – slightly different from the one shown yesterday) and I expect to come out with a number of shots that I am happy with. I also experimented with various white balance settings – for many of the shots, the “shady” setting gave a more realistic result than “auto”, capturing the warmth of sunlight filtered through foliage. I think I overdid the effect a little but it was an improvement on the “auto” setting.

Overall, I think the hike was worthwhile for my photography skills as well as my general fitness. There are some things I need to work on but, if I can make the time, it will have helped me improve.

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